Policymaking in the Gulf Region: The Case of Privatization Policy in the State of Kuwait Dissertation

(2017). Policymaking in the Gulf Region: The Case of Privatization Policy in the State of Kuwait . 10.25148/etd.FIDC001802

thesis or dissertation chair


  • Altammar, Shahed


  • The purpose of this research is to explore the policy processes in Kuwait by examining the recent privatization legislation, which has been adopted but not yet implemented. First, the research reports data from elite interviews, focus groups, and document reviews about policymaking, to illuminate the processes that lead up to the adoption of privatization. Limited data of this nature currently exist. Second, it is anticipated that findings reported in this study will be of theoretical relevance to scholars of comparative politics and particularly to privatization theorists.

    The research contributes to a better understanding of the differences in policymaking processes between consolidated democracies of Western countries and transitional democracies of Gulf countries, with a particular focus on Kuwait. Data analyzed depict Kuwait in its struggle to become part of an internationally diversified economy. While the government is still centralized in its operations, there is a push towards greater openness and inclusiveness in the political process.

    The research draws on the interpretivist and social constructivist paradigms, and employs the use of a phenomenological data analysis method. Ministers, directors of public agencies, and private sector executives were interviewed, as well as leaders of nonprofits and representatives of international organizations. Essentially, the study attempted to include all participants in the privatization policy development.

    The research shows that Kuwait’s economy is the least diversified in the Gulf region, with a great dependency on hydrocarbon revenues. Results indicate that fluctuating oil prices, economic stagnation, and declining citizen satisfaction, drove privatization discussions at different points in time. Although the privatization legislation was enacted in 2010 via Law 37, the government is still struggling with implementation across the public sector. Data analysis of the reasons behind the lack of implementation reveals that limitations in the legal framework, lack of private sector incentives, capacity issues, national workforce concerns, inadequate infrastructure, and the lack of evaluation and management criteria are drastically hindering the policy implementation process in Kuwait.

publication date

  • February 10, 2017


  • Gulf Region
  • Kuwait
  • New Public Management
  • Policy Development
  • Political Decision Making
  • Privatization
  • Public Policy

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)